RSF launches Lviv Press Freedom Center
Scheduled to open in the coming days, the Lviv Press Freedom Center aims to be a hub for receiving and distributing protective equipment for journalists, including body armor and helmets, which are currently in short supply. . This Physical and Digital Center will also provide resources for journalists seeking financial or psychological assistance.
It will be located in the premises of International media center, a facility created by the Lviv City Council where foreign journalists can work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with an internet connection, live-streaming capability and access to shelter in the event of an attack. The Lviv Press Freedom Center will be run jointly by RSF and the Institute for Mass Information (IMI), RSF’s partner in Ukraine since 2014.
The Center will have a digital portal to channel requests and assess needs. RSF and IMI receive hundreds of requests every day from journalists seeking assistance of various kinds, including requests for transport, humanitarian aid and protective equipment. This digital portal will greatly facilitate the assistance efforts of press freedom organisations.
RSF will also deploy technology from its Collateral Freedom project to help Ukrainian independent media bypass website blocking through “mirror” sites created on international servers.
“RSF has been supporting Ukrainian journalists and international reporters in danger from the start”, said RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire. “Their needs are immense and include first aid kits, humanitarian aid, protective equipment and media funding. We call on international donors and the media to contact us to help provide the funds and equipment that will be needed in the coming days.
“Journalists in Ukraine have to work in extremely dangerous conditions”, said IMI director Oksana Romaniuk. “Their courage allows all of us to know the real situation with the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Their work protects people’s right to information and helps fight counterfeiting. We appreciate the support of our long-standing partner RSF and together we will do everything we can to protect the work of journalists in Ukraine.”
Hrystyna Lebed, coordinator of the Lviv Press Freedom Center said: “ The truth about the war is very important to us now. Our country is under attack and we are fighting for our freedom. We will organize everything they need to access the information”
The Lviv Press Freedom Center cooperates closely with the support program for Ukrainian journalists of the European journalistic network n-ost.
Early supporters of the Lviv Press Freedom Center include the Limelight Foundation and the Adessium Foundation in the Netherlands, the Schöpflin Foundation in Germany, the King Baudouin Foundation in Belgium, the Oak Foundation in the UK and dozens of individual donors. RSF and IMI are grateful for their support.